United States v. Trenton Potteries Co. case brief summary
manufacturers of bathroom fixtures, admitted to fixing prices through
the trade association for 82% of the entire industry, but attempted
to defend their agreement on grounds that the prices were reasonable.
Nonetheless, the Court excluded evidence that the price was
reasonable, because price-fixing agreements are unreasonable even
if the prices themselves were reasonable. Courts forced to
determine that reasonable prices would have to act like “utility
commissions,” which is beyond their institutional competency.
The Court endorsed a per se
rule against price-fixing.
But see Appalachian Coals, Inc.
v. U.S. (1933), where the Court ruled a joint-selling agreement
among Appalachian coal producers reasonable, despite the necessary
price-fixing features, partly due to lack of controlling market
share and influenced by terrible circumstances in the industry.
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